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An Interesting Read...


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My wife showed me this the other day and said I was guilty of everything in the article....



Pilots are a distinct segment of the general population. In addition to flying skills, pilots are selected for their personalities and for a distinct pilot persona. These characteristics make them safer pilots.


Pilots tend to be physically and mentally healthy. Pilots tend to be reality based, because by the very nature of their work they are constantly testing reality. There are those, however who would dispute this claim.


Pilots tend to be self-sufficient and may have difficulty functioning in team situations without CRM and other training. They have difficulty trusting anyone to do the job as well as they can. Pilots tend to be suspicious, even a little paranoid. In moderation, this quality serves them well within their environment and is, in fact, a quality that managements look for in the pilot personality. Outside the cockpit, this quality shows up in the tendency of many pilots to set two or three alarm clocks even though he or she may generally wake up before any of these go off. The suspicious/paranoid tendency also affects the way pilots function in their private lives, as well.


Pilots tend to be intelligent but are typically not intellectually oriented. They like toys boats, cars, motorcycles, big watches, etc. They are good at taking things apart, if not putting them back together. Pilots are concrete, practical, linear thinkers rather than abstract, philosophical, or theoretical. On a scale that ranges from analytically oriented to emotionally oriented, pilots tend to be toward the analytical end. They are extremely reality- and goal-oriented. They like lists showing concrete problems, not talking about them. This goal orientation tends towards the short term as opposed to the long term. Pilots are bimodal: on/off, black/white, good/bad, safe/unsafe, regulations/non-regulations.


Pilots are inclined to modify their environment rather than their own behavior. Pilots need excitement; a 9-to-5 job would drive most pilots to distraction. Pilots are competitive, being driven by a need to achieve, and dont handle failure particularly well. Pilots have a low tolerance for personal imperfection, and long memories of perceived injustices.


Pilots tend to be scanners, drawing conclusions rapidly about situational facts. Pilots scan people as if they were instruments; they draw conclusions at a glance rather than relying on long and emotion-laden converstaions.


Pilots avoid introspection and have difficulty revealing, expressing, or even recognizing their feelings. When they do experience unwanted feelings, they tend to mask them, sometimes with humor or even anger. Being unemotional helps pilots deal with crises, but can make them insensitive toward the feelings of others. The spouses and children of pilots frequently complain that the pilot has difficulty expressing complex human emotions toward them.


This emotional block can create difficulty communicating. How many incidents or accidents have occurred due to poor communications? The vast majority of Professional Standards cases will be caused by poor communication.


Courtesy of ALPA

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As an engineer reading this description of a "typical" pilot, I have a lot to say.

Some is good natured hacking, but some is truly an observation from my perspective.

Many of the pilots I have met over the years may have started off as analytical, but most do not retain that trait. Depending on the size and complexity of the aircraft, some tend to simply snag the aircraft as faulty without any cockpit based troubleshooting. There are also those who excel at this, but that is not the majority.

I have seen a lot of pilots start out their flying career as hard working, focused and helpful. Those same people can sometimes end up as non team players and self focused. I should point out here that all of us change as our careers and ourselves age. The same statements can be easily made of some of the engineers I know as well.


Lastly, after reading the description, which kind of describes a larger than life alpha male, who is introspective, smart, mechanically superior, and caring, I realized, I must speak up for the common man, who doesn't possess even half of those traits. In closing, you can each decide which is hack, and which isn't. It does take a special personality and skill set to be a good pilot. I certainly don't have what it takes, but I do know it takes all of the team to get it launched in the morning and bring it home at night.

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